Given the media attention to police killings of unarmed men of color, police agencies have increased their focus on the diversity of their applicant pools. Despite their efforts, policing leaders across the United States have cited challenges in recruiting a diverse police force and are exploring evidence-based solutions. However, the bulk of the literature on motivation to seek a career in policing is dated and includes small samples of women and minority respondents. The purpose of this study is to provide contemporary insight into reasons of women and minority candidates for applying to a police department. Thus, this study focuses on women and minority applicants to a large policing agency in the northeastern United States, asking respondents an open-ended question about their motivation to apply. Policing as a childhood dream, making a difference in the community and the opportunity to help people, and believing policing was a good transition from military to civilian life were the most commonly cited reasons for applying. Salary, benefits and job security were the least cited reasons for applying for a police position. Other findings and policy implications are discussed.
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